Tag: Jonestown

Launching the Baltimore Jewish Landmarks Photo Competition with a Photo Walk & Tour

We’re excited to announce the 2012 Jewish Landmarks Photo Competition – a new partnership between Baltimore Heritage and the Jewish Museum of Maryland to celebrate Baltimore’s rich history of Jewish residents, neighborhoods and buildings from Lloyd Street to Park Heights Avenue. Join us next Thursday evening as we kick off the competition with free admission to the Jewish Museum of Maryland and a free photo walk and tour for Late Night on Lloyd Street. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Local celebrity judges, prizes, and information on how to submit a photo will be announced next week. Late Night on Lloyd Street takes place on the first Thursday of every month and are casual and drop-in evenings. Stop by on your way home from work, bring a friend or come to meet new people.

Late Night on Lloyd Street

Thursday, September 6, 6:00pm to 9:00 pm
Jewish Museum of Maryland, 15 Lloyd Street  Baltimore, MD 21202
Parking and transit details on the JMM website.
RSVP for a free photo walk & tour of the historic Jonestown neighborhood starting 6:30pm. Light refreshments will be provided.

Behind the Scenes Tour of the Phoenix Shot Tower

Please join us as we partner with the Carroll Museums for the Phoenix Challenge. No, we aren’t hiking our way to Arizona. Rather, we are hiking up Baltimore’s own Phoenix Shot Tower. The Shot Tower, when it was built in 1828, was the tallest structure in the United States until 1846. Once there were three such towers in Baltimore; now there are only a few left in the entire world. The tour will include a short walk to visit some historic highlights in the surrounding Jonestown neighborhood followed by a tour inside the Tower. We will even have a chance to climb halfway up this iconic structure!

Phoenix Shot Tower

Fallsway & Fayette St.
Sunday,October 16, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
$10/members, $15/non-members. Refreshments will be served.
Children are welcome.
RSVP for the tour today!

The design of the 215-foot tall Phoenix Shot Tower and its estimated 1.1 million bricks is based on Englishman William Watt’s 1782 patented process of making shot by pouring molten lead through colanders down the open shaft of a high tower. As the molten lead spun and cooled in the air, it became “perfectly globular in form and smooth” as was reported at the time. The “drops” were collected in a large water barrel at the tower’s base, then sorted by size and bagged for distribution. The finished product was called drop shot and was used for small game hunting, among other things. The Shot Tower annually produced 2.5 million pounds of it until 1892 when new methods of shot production made the Tower obsolete. In 1921, permits were granted to tear down the Tower and clear the site to make way for an automobile garage. In one of the first acts of historic preservation in Baltimore, public reaction against the demolition plans was strong, and leading citizens were able to raise funds for its preservation. On October 11, 1924, a group of Baltimore citizens bought the Shot Tower for $17,000 and donated it to the city with the understanding that it would be preserved. More than fifty years passed before the Shot Tower was opened to the public as a museum. In 1973, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today it is managed by Carroll Museums, a non-profit organization that also manages the Carroll Mansion on nearby Pratt Street.

For our tour, we will meet at the Shot Tower and take a short stroll around Historic Jonestown, one of Baltimore’s oldest neighborhoods. The tour will be led by Urban Rangers from the Baltimore National Heritage Area. The walk will take about an hour. Once back at the Tower, we’ll have a rare opportunity to climb part way up on the wooden stairs that wrap around its interior brick wall. Ms. Paula Hankins, director of the Museums, will talk about the history (and future) of the Tower. Our tour is a prelude to the Museum’s Phoenix Challenge campaign, which has its official kick off just after our tour ends around noon. Crafts and activities will be available to amuse our youngest tour goers, and there will be refreshments for all. The Phoenix Challenge campaign has a goal to raise 1.1 million supporters worldwide – one person for every brick in the tower. I hope you can join us to be among the first.

Baltimore Heritage Behind the Scenes Tour of the McKim Free School and Old Quaker Meeting House

McKim Center, This Place Matters Community Challenge
Today’s tour announcement of the McKim Free School and Old Quaker Meeting House is especially important as it comes with an opportunity for you to help win $25,000 for the restoration of the McKim Free School through the This Place Matters Community Challenge organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Last year, we nominated the Baltimore Hebrew Orphan Asylum and came in 9th nationally. This year we aim to win!

The 1833 McKim Free School is a rare treasure– a Baltimore landmark with deep roots in the city’s history and a long record of education and social service, including nearly 70 years as home to the McKim Center that provides youth and community services to the Jonestown neighborhood. Unfortunately, the McKim Free School building has a leaky roof in urgent need of repair and cracked masonry requiring a major restoration. Please take two minutes to vote for the McKim Free School and help preserve this piece of Baltimore’s history.

Old Quaker Meeting House and McKim Free School

1201 East Fayette Street, 21202
Monday, June 27 | 5:30pm to 7:30pm
$15/members, $20 for non-members (including refreshments)
Our tour will include both the Old Quaker Meeting House and the McKim Free School. We’ll meet at the Old Quaker Meeting House. On street, metered parking is available on Aisquith and Baltimore Streets.
RSVP for the tour today!

The McKim Free School was built in 1833 from the generous gift of John McKim. McKim had made a fortune in Baltimore as a merchant in the early 1800s, and during the War of 1812 gave the City of Baltimore $50,000 for its defense. McKim, a Quaker who was a member of the neighboring Friends Meeting House (the other building on this tour) served as a state senator and was twice elected to Congress. John and his son William McKim established the McKim Free School to help the city’s youth regardless of religion. They hired two notable architects for its design, William Howard, the son of Baltimore’s Revolutionary War Hero John Eager Howard, and William Small, who designed the Archbishop’s residence on Charles Street among other buildings. The Greek Revival building, perhaps the best example of this style of architecture in Baltimore, is modeled after the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, Greece.

The Old Quaker Meeting House actually predates the McKim building by over 50 years. Built in 1781, it is the oldest religious building in Baltimore. In its day, Quaker luminaries such as Elisha Tyson, Joseph Townsend, and Johns Hopkins (the philanthropist) worshipped here, and the Friends School of Baltimore has its origins here. Both the Meeting House and the School building are used by the McKim Center, a youth and community services group that has operated out of them for over 70 years. We are thrilled to have three great guides for this tour: Kathleen Kotarba, Executive Director of the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, architect Bruce Manger with Hord Coplan Macht, and McKim Center Executive Director Dwight Warren. Please join us as we explore the 175 year history of these buildings and look at a few of the challenges that they currently face.

Vote for the McKim Free School in the This Place Matters Community Challenge


Baltimore’s McKim Free School is a rare treasure– a 1833 landmark with deep roots in the city’s history and an unsurpassed 175 year record of education and social service. Since 1945, this building has been home to the McKim Center as it has grown as a vital institution serving children and adults in need in the Jonestown community in innumerable ways. However, the building, owned by the City of Baltimore and managed by the non-profit McKim Center, has some significant challenges with a leaky roof and cracked masonry demanding a significant restoration. The importance of this architecturally significant building as a living symbol of caring, generous assistance is clearly expressed by McKim’s executive director Dwight Warren–who has been personally involved with the McKim Center for nearly 50 years–

Much of that symbolic strength is derived from the massive stone walls, columns, lintels, pediment, and other features that are now at risk, caused by age, wear, and the elements. Cracking, spilling, water damage, and general deterioration threaten to accelerate these processes if not checked by repair and replacement.

You can help to restore this unique Baltimore building and support an essential neighborhood institution by voting right now for the McKim Free School in the This Place Matters Community Challenge organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. With your support, we have a chance to win up to $25,000 for the continued restoration of the McKim Free School building. Online voting for the McKim School, one of 100 great historic places across the country, continues through June 31. You can only vote once so we need your help to share this opportunity with your friends and neighbors and encourage them to join your cause.

How do I vote to support the McKim Free School?

  1. Register with the National Trust for Historic Preservation online then check your email for your new username and password. If you voted for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum last fall or if you are a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation you can use the same form to receive a reminder with your username and password.
  2. Login and vote in the This Place Matters Community Challenge for the McKim Free School  to help us win $25,000.
  3. Don’t forget to connect with Baltimore Heritage and the McKim Free School on Facebook for updates on upcoming events and our continued restoration effort. Please spread the word about this great opportunity with your family, friends and neighbors!

Questions? Contact Eli Pousson at  pousson@baltimoreheritage.org.